'Leave no one behind' index 2018

Published: 17th October 2018 9:41Last Updated: 18th October 2018 16:37
leave no one behind index

Number and proportion of countries 'not ready' (ODI).

Introduction

With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UN Member States pledged to ensure “no one will be left behind”. ‘Leaving no one behind’ means ending extreme poverty in all its forms, and reducing inequalities among both individuals and groups.

This indexreviews the readiness of 86 countries to ‘leave no one behind’, covering all the countries that are presenting Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) at the 2018 High-level Political Forum (HLPF) as well as those that presented last year.

Building on ODI’s 2017 ‘leave no one behind’ index, this year’s index adds an additional policy indicator on resilience. It includes a new ‘leave no one behind’ outcome score for each country that captures the extent to which real-world outcomes on leaving no one behind are improving.

*Download the full briefing note from the right-hand column for more information. Go to the article page on ODI's website to download the annexes and data.

Methods and Tools

This index covers all the countries that are presenting Voluntary National Reviews at the 2018 High-level Political Forum as well as those that presented last year. Building on ODI’s 2017 ‘leave no one behind’ index, this year’s index adds an additional policy indicator on resilience. It also includes a new ‘leave no one behind’ outcome score for each country that captures the extent to which real-world outcomes on leaving no one behind are improving. The index measures governments’ readiness in three areas:

  1. Data. Are countries undertaking the necessary surveys to identify those at risk of being left behind?
  2. Policy. Do countries have key policies in place that address the needs of those at risk of being left behind – in particular, in relation to: women’s access to land and employment; and universal access to health, which previous ODI research identified as critical areas to support leaving no one behind?
  3. Finance. Are governments investing enough in education, health and social protection – the three key sectors that are well recognised to be critical for supporting those at risk of being left behind?

Key messages

  • The index shows that 55 countries are ‘ready’ to meet their leave no one behind commitment, 24 are ‘partially ready’, 5 are currently ‘not ready’ and 2 have ‘insufficient data’.
  • Since last year, there has been some welcome progress towards ensuring no one is left behind, with 11 of the 43 countries that presented VNRs in 2017 improving their previous index score (using the same set of indicators as in 2017).
  • Most of the improvements have been on data, which reflects an encouraging increase in the number of countries with household surveys within the last three years.
  • A small number of countries showed improvements with finances now in line with internationally agreed targets and key policies in place (7 and 5 countries respectively). But some showed a deterioration (6 and 4 countries respectively).
  • The additional policy indicator on resilience reveals the extent to which national climate adaptation documents cover leave no one behind issues: 46 of the 86 countries are judged ‘not ready’ by this specific indicator. This lack of focus on groups at risk of being left behind is a critical concern.
  • The new leave no one behind outcome index shows that 15 of the 86 countries are clearly ‘off track’ to meet key Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets.
    • However, few outcome indicators are available at a sufficiently disaggregated level to be able to assess whether key groups are being left behind.
    • Not surprisingly there is a clear correlation between the readiness score and the outcome score: of the 55 countries scoring ‘ready’ on readiness, 36 are also ‘on track’ on outcomes.

Lessons Learnt

Despite recognition that early action is necessary, too many countries are insufficiently prepared for ensuring no one is left behind. 

  • A quarter of all countries are failing to put in place the appropriate policies and nearly all are failing to sufficiently finance at least one key sector.

Given the importance of resilience, and the focus on this at the 2018 HLPF, it is particularly concerning that most countries are failing to identify – let alone prioritise – those most at risk of being left behind as they prepare their adaption plans and projects.

  • And the failure to make sufficient progress in terms of final outcomes confirms the scale of the challenge ahead and the need for urgent action.